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The Great Bane

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In his time as Magnus’ valet, Raphael had been forced into attending hundreds of parties, in which the majority Magnus himself had hosted. It was well known in all kinds of society (both the depraved and the virtuous) that the parties hosted at Bane manor in West Egg were the best of the best and going to them was an absolute must for anyone who was anyone. Even if said host had managed to remain anonymous.

Raphael had to applaud Magnus’ ability to get his name out into the world, have it worshipped and adored, and yet have very few people actually know who he was or what he looked like.

Although, Raphael reflected as he wrote down a note from Mr. Starkweather over the phone, maybe that was for the best. Magnus’ business was not one the police would externally appreciate, even though most could be bribed off, but nonetheless it provided them with the funds to retain the upkeep for the grandiose mansion they currently lived in on the bay of West Egg.

Raphael didn’t actually live in the mansion in an official capacity, he still went home to the Santiago clan every weekend, but he stayed in that mansion for five days of the week and had slowly gotten used to it grandeur and its size, despite Magnus often complaining about the place being too damn small.

From outside the window Raphael heard a faint rumble and his attention was quickly swept away from his, frankly, mind-numbing job and being the completely attentive neighbour and concerned valet he was, went over to make sure no rabble from the main city had found its way to the mansion hours before the party was set to begin.

Instead of the usual humdrum of slightly tipsy, slightly-aristocratic-but-not-really people approaching the Bane residence when a party was going to start, Raphael caught sight of a plain black Ford Model T parking into the driveway of the cottage that bordered along the neatly trimmed lawn of the mansion.

Raphael smirked slightly at the idea of the cottage as a neighbouring house.

The Bane mansion grounds were massive and its neighbour, a cottage which Raphael would have been more at comfort in, was situated quite a distance away and one needed to walk at least five minutes from the grand rococo style door of the Bane residence to the muddy driveway of the smaller residence.

Raphael would know as it was his usual calm down walk when Magnus got a little too prissy for his liking.

Raphael watched with anticipation at the person stepping out the car, seeing only a modest two trunks of a dark brown colour strapped to the back. From what Raphael could make out from the small window and the distance between them, the figure was definitely male, that was noticeable instantly, and remarkably tall, although probably not as tall as Magnus, who at 6’2 stood taller than most.

His hair looked to be dark brown or black, flopping down in a fringe over his eyes as opposed to the more popular slick back parted style many youths sported today (coincidently both Raphael and Magnus sported this style- they were after all in constant view of society). His clothes didn’t seem to be of the best make, although even from the window Raphael could see that they had once been of the highest quality – most likely worn down due to use and never replaced.

He seemed to be unsure of his actions at first, his shoulders were slightly hunched, and he kept on twitching in different directions as if thinking he should go there but then decided against it. Eventually, after a couple of minutes of relatively standing still, the man began the process of unlatching his trunks from the back of his car and trudging them, one by one, up the driveway before disappearing behind the lines of trees that separated the majority of the cottage from the mansion.

With a sigh Raphael turned away from the window, intending to give the note from Starkweather to Magnus now, but stopped short at the sight of a figure at the big window by the door, shadowy in the early morning light, and staring out in the direction of the cottage, body stiff and eyes unmoving.

Raphael waited expectantly for Magnus to move away from the window and head back into his office – the place he usually worked at this time of the day, but still found himself surprised when the Asian eventually did. For the first time as his valet , Raphael noticed that Magnus looked shy, apprehensive almost and yet unmistakably eager, a far cry from the usual you-can’t-touch-me, confident expression he wore all the time and Raphael felt a shock of hatred run through him at the sight.

He knew it was irrational, but he couldn’t help but hate the unknown neighbour now, regardless of their lack of acquaintance. Anyone who put the expression of apprehension on Magnus’ face, who made him look so vulnerable, was surely not a good person.

 


 

 

Isabelle, not for the first time on this journey, sighed in frustration at the confusing roads they were driving down. She was confident that they had passed that particular tree at least three times but god no obviously ‘it was a different one’, and Isabelle was now prepared to slap her fiancé -regardless of how dorkably loveable he was 90% of the time.

 Eventually, after they’d passed the tree a fourth time, she had put her heeled foot down and climbed onto Simon’s lap and promptly taken over the driving, successfully getting them to Alec’s cottage in West Egg only an hour after when they had originally said they were going to arrive. As soon as they arrived and shut off the car Isabelle took great delight in viewing the building before her.

To put it simply, the cottage was beautiful.

It was beautifully small and quaint, with one main floor and an extension in the roof which could look out into the world through a large window. The walls were painted with a soft cream colour that blended perfectly with the lush greenery surrounding it, with windows that pushed open into eh early morning air and his from the sun using light blue striped curtains. The front door was painted a bright, gleaming white which stood out by being lined with rich green and white flowers creating a romantic archway into the house.

The garden situated out front was delicately preserved, filled with an array of bright red, yellow and purple flowers all perfectly cut and designed into circles that aligned wonderfully with the house. Trees that reached high up into the air with large swaying branches were circled by either benches or small delicate flowers of unseen beauty. From the door way was a small patio filled with potted plants of all varieties; it was quiet and cut-off from the world with individual stones leading from the door way to the driveway.

All in all, it looked like the sort of place once dreamed of as a child and Isabelle couldn’t stop the smile that spread over her face at the thought that this was the perfect place for her literature obsessed brother.

Loudly she honked the horn and scrambled madly out of Simon’s lap and the car, eager to finally see her brother after weeks apart; She had missed being around him many hours of the day and able to see him whenever she pleased.

The door flew open unceremoniously and she watched eagerly as Alec bounded out, a rare smile gracing his face, and raced down the patio steps before throwing his arms around her, picking her up and swirling her around. Isabelle yelped loudly and clutched at her brother tighter, unwilling to let him go, whilst burying a smile into his neck as he spun round and round, faster and faster before ungracefully setting her down and letting out a slight huff of a laugh as she fell to the floor.

It wasn’t a laugh but considering the last time she had seen him it was most definitely an improvement.

A bony hand graced her vision and Isabelle gladly took her fiancés offer of help as she let out a mature tongue waggle in her brother’s direction, glaring mildly at his sky blue eyes. “Well, at least someone is a gentleman around here.” She exclaimed, non-discreetly placing her hand on Simon’s shoulder, his dark brown suit perfectly setting off her diamond ring.

Alec, sweet, wonderful, oblivious Alec, completely ignored this not so subtle hint of hers and instead turned a deep scowl towards Simon, still managing to send a sliver of fear down his spine at the fearsome sight. “I am a gentleman Izzy, it is simply that you are not a gentlewoman.”

And off they went, squabbling and arguing over this and that and wouldn’t stop the smile adorning her face as they slipped into the familiar routine – one which had been too long absent from her life.  Forever suffering the whims of his fiancée, Simon followed behind at a more sedate pace, placing his hands in his pockets and rolling his eyes at the classic Lightwood antics.

He stopped his walk suddenly when Alec turned to open the door and let out one small smirk in Simon’s direction, “Oh, and congrats Simon, you finally grew some balls and asked did you?” Simon, in response, felt his head burn bright red and listened to the dull thud of Isabelle hitting her brother’s shoulder.

Immediately after however, Isabelle pushed by her brother and began to investigate the small interior of the cottage, judging every piece of furniture and item left out for viewing.

The living area was homely, with one small light blue loveseat sat opposite a fire and neighbouring a singular seat of the same colour which were positioned to face slightly towards each other. An ivory bookcase in the corner reached from the floor to the roof and was overfilled with books of all kinds and even though millions would struggle to fill the case, her brother had somehow managed to not only have enough room, but to overfill it with books being piled up on any available space.

A small coffee table of a rich oak colour sat in front of the two sets of sofas, books littering its surface, and in the middle sat an uncompleted manuscript that Alec had been working on for a few months now. Izzy felt excited at just seeing it, wanting more than ever to to read it but aware that Alec would probably break every heel on her shoes if she did so without his permission.

Alec wasn’t passionate about much but writing had always had a special part of his soul.

The living room opened up to a kitchenette, light brown wood being the most predominant colour, filled with only the most basic essential items. An oven, a couple of cupboards, a small refrigerator, a sink, nothing more and nothing less. Practical, just like Alec. Isabelle felt disgruntled at the general lack of anything which was Alec’s but knew any attempt to make him do so would be fruitless.

Off to the side, no doubt what other people would use as large coatroom or small guest room, was Alec’s so called ‘workroom’. Isabelle had never actually seen his workroom before now, only ever hearing about it in absentminded accounts from Jace or in small titbits from Alec and the prospect of seeing it now made her heart skip a beat.

It was designed similar to a small office with only a singular wooden desk of average size, a dark wooden chair, the only phone in the house and finally a typewriter – the one instrument Alec would never part with. All of these items, Isabelle knew, Alec placed with worth higher than his own; it was in this room Izzy knew, that Alec worked on his novel when not at work, ardently typing away, ignoring the world around him.

Farther down the hallway, past the kitchenette, was the staircase upwards to what Izzy presumed was Alec’s actual bedroom and she had little doubts it was probably just as sparsely decorated as the rest of the cottage, although if it was decorated, Izzy probably wouldn’t think it was her brothers.

Collectively the cottage was a perfect home for her brother and Izzy was glad he had found this place of happiness and acceptance away from home.

“Please,” He said, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the loveseat, “Take a seat, I’ll put on some coffee.” Gratefully the pair sat down, thankful to finally relax after their stressful journey. “So, how had your first week of living in the cottage been, I’m sure it’s been swell” Izzy started, prompting her brother to let out a sigh as he walked back over, his hands full with three mugs before he passed them round one by one.

“It’s been positively hotsy-totsy Izzy, I have to say. During the day I can write my novel without interference because I’m further away from the city but I’m close enough that it takes only a short ride to get to work.” He smiled in eagerness and genuine happiness, and for once Izzy could see that it was real. Small, but real and that in itself was a miracle for Alec. “Although I wish that my neighbour would calm down a bit.”

“Why, what’s wrong with him?” Simon asked, seeing the look of hesitation on Isabelle’s face; she was a gossip a heart but her brother viewed the world vastly different and she never wanted to accidently offend him.

“All he does, every weekend, is party. Hundreds of people travel by this way to park up in his fancy mansion and don’t leave until the sun rises meaning that I don’t get that much sleep. Jesus, for once I’d like to go to sleep at a reasonable hour.”

“Christ Alec,” Izzy interfered, her party girl instincts taking over, “Don’t be such a fire extinguisher, let the cat party.”

As always, Alec let out a sigh at his sister’s words, flashbacks of his big brother moments showing up before his eyes quickly. “I’m not a fire extinguisher Izzy, grow some class, besides, we all know you’re here to update me on life in the big city and the rock on your finger, so let go of the neighbour and tell me everything.”

For the next few hours Isabelle happily regaled her brother, and to a certain extent her fiancé, of all the gossip running through the upper, middle and lower echelons of society. It was a conscious effort, one noted by the siblings, that she made sure to go into detail about scandal whilst feverishly staying away from anything to do with the Lightwood name.

Without the three even noticing, evening soon fell, and their meeting would have to break apart so that Alec could head off to work.

The trio slowly made their way over to the door, exchanging pleasantries all the way, unwilling to stop their conversation until the last moment. As Alec opened the door, the three halted suddenly at the sight of a woman wearing a dark blue dress that perfectly complimented her chocolate skin tone, her arm outstretched as if to knock on the now absent door.

Without missing a beat, her arm dropped, and a mega watt smile made its way onto her face, a confident mask slipping on almost instantly. “Mr Lightwood?” She asked, her eyes darting between Simon and Alec and although the situation was understandable, Izzy couldn’t help the flare of possessiveness that overtook her at having another woman analysing her fiancé.

“This is my fiancé Simon Lewis,” She purred, confidently perching her hand on his shoulder, eyes flaming towards the woman, “and this is my brother, Alec.” She finished, a feral smile overtaking her face. Women in this day and age were starting to become more vocal about their desires and she wasn’t going to keep quiet about who exactly it was Simon Lewis was engaged to.

Beside her, Alec cleared his throat and stepped forward, hands instinctively twitching in nervousness even after all his years of preforming in front of people for work. “I’ve been asked to hand you this invite.” She politely offered, holding out to Alec a purple card with gold ribbon delicately tied around it, and three sets of eyes instantly stared at it as he reached out and placed into his hands.

Isabelle looked up to start her questioning on the girl, only to see her disappearing down the driveway and moving off into the direction of the mansion that neighboured Alec’s cottage, vanishing into the dark that surrounded the absent mansion. Frowning at the lack of respect or basic decency, Isabelle turned back to the invite in her brother’s hand instantly gasping out loud at the sight that greeted her.

In his hand was a sleek, royal purple coloured piece of card, no bigger than a greeting card, filled with beautiful golden handwriting; without even asking, she grabbed the invite out of her brother’s hand, ignoring the startled yelp that accompanied it and read the invite in disbelief.

“Jesus Christ Alec, you didn’t tell us your neighbour was Magnus Bane!” She screamed, her voice quickly rising to an almost sonic pitch, the dogs near by raising their heads in wonder.

“What-

“Who-

Came the immediate reply from both parties. Isabelle rolled her eyes at the pair, sighing internally at the people she called her friends. “Magnus Bane holds the most glorious and elegant parties. No one knows who he is or what he looks like, nor how he got all his money, but everyone accepts that his parties top all else!” One pair of eyes, belonging to Simon, continued to look into her own whilst the other, belonging to Alec, lowered to the floor, cheeks flaming in apparent embarrassment.

 Mmm, curious.

Impatiently Simon reached out towards the invite, intending to read it for himself, but Isabelle knew him too well and moved her arm in the opposite direction, bringing it closer to her eyes to read aloud.

“You are invited to a gathering at the home of Magnus the Magnificent, a rapturous evening of delight beyond your wildest dreams, at midnight tomorrow. Bring along as many friends as you please, all are welcome.”

The message was a little impersonal but Izzy couldn’t stop her disbelief at seeing such an invite being literally handed to her brother, Magnus Bane was infamous for his parties, and although many wondered exactly how Magnus made his money, many didn’t care as his parties more than made up for his mysteries, Izzy being one of those people.

She thought she saw a hint of a smile grace her brothers face as she read the invitation out but was unable to question it as Simon quickly grabbed her arm and steered her out of the cottage, calling out a hasty, “We gotta bounce” as they got in the car and set off. She had wanted to interrogate her brother, find out why exactly Magnus Bane of all people would be sending him an invite and why the sheer mention of his name would cause a blush; she also had wanted to make sure he turned up but now there was no guarantee.

Turning back to face the road leading them out of West Egg, Isabelle smiled to herself, she would simply have to come back.

 


 

 

Catarina let herself back into Magnus’ mansion, huffing at the slightly cold air of the evening and glad for the silence that graced the home this evening. Tomorrow the halls, the rooms, the gardens, everything was going to be packed with dancing, singing party members and she revelled in the quiet whilst she could.

It had surprised her when Magnus had said he wasn’t going to throw a party this evening, but she was secretly glad; Catarina wasn’t stupid enough to think Magnus threw his parties for the pure happiness of the act. However, his random request of sending an invite, an invite to his neighbour who apparently Magnus was oh so very eager to meet, was of more interest to her in this moment and she desired to know the secret.

Why Magnus hadn’t introduced himself as he normally would is beyond her, but she wont push him, it would only make him clamp up more.

Sashaying through the long hallways, enjoying the feeling of her beaded dress against her bare legs, Catarina bellowed out for Magnus, wanting to let him know that his task had been done. She felt a presence move behind her and stretched her arm out, delighting in the fingers entangling with her own, Ragnor Fell drawing himself closer by her side as they ran around the house together.

“Any word on why our melodramatic friend is going to all this trouble to meet up with his neighbour?” She questioned, hoping that maybe Magnus had confided in his closest and oldest friend. A sigh following the question meant that Catarina instantly knew that Magnus had yet to divulge that information.

For the past week Magnus had been partying almost non-stop, hosting multiple parties at the same time, drinking more and more alcohol and secluding himself in anonymity. She had been prepared to hold an intervention when early in the morning Magnus had come to her, a nervous expression covering his face, and shyly held out an invite, asking her if she would be willing to give it to his neighbour whilst also saying that there was to be no party that evening.

The question had surprised her for multiple reasons, the first being that, as far as she knew, Magnus had never actually invited anyone to his parties, usually they just turned up, and the second being that he had been shy.

Magnus was never shy!

In all the years they’d been friends - aside from the Camille years which Catarina refuses to acknowledge -Magnus had been outgoing and outlandish, unafraid to face the world and all the people in it; whoever this neighbour was, Magnus wanted to know him, wanted to meet him

Catarina pulled Ragnor with her all the way to Magnus’ study, barging her way through the door unapologetically. Magnus was sat at the desk, anxiously wringing his hands as he stared out of the window that faced the cottage and Catarina was struck with how young he looked in this moment. His shoulders were slightly hunched forward in anticipation, bottom lip being worried by teeth as eyes darted quickly around the area outside.

“Magnus” she called out gently, unwilling to startle him when he was so deep in his thoughts. He turned his head slightly towards her and smiled so brightly it overtook the rest of him and held out his arms, allowing her to step into his chest and accept the hug given to her. “Thank you my Darling.” He whispered into her bob, clutching her to him tighter before letting her go and turning around to his desk, raising the phone off the hook and sending a pointed look to the door.

“Thank you my dears” he called out pointedly to the pair in the room, silently ushering them to the door, “If you don’t mind, I have a party to plan.”

“Will he come?” She hears Ragnor ask and feels the breath in her throat clog up at the question – Magnus had made the effort and now it was the neighbours turn.

“I don’t know.” Was Magnus’ honest, but eager, reply. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Chapter Text

Magnus had lasted all of five minutes before running out to him and Catarina, asking (begging) for help to plan his party. He fluttered over the details, changing one idea for another within the space of one second, all whilst taking important phone calls for his bootlegging business.

Ragnor was confident he’d never seen Magnus’ hair so untamed.

“Now my little cabbage, who do you think we should have as entertainment at the party, we need someone to really set things off don’t you think?” Ragnor notes that Magnus isn’t actually focused on him when he talks, his head is down, shirt slightly unbuttoned and suspenders around his waist as he juggled sheets of paper around the desk.

“Magnus-“ He tries, stifling his laughter alongside his Catarina as the Asian just keeps on talking to them but ignoring them.

“Maybe we could get a jazz singer, haven’t had one of those for a while-“

“Magnus-“

“And maybe we should have a champagne chandelier-“

“Magnus!” Ragnor shouts, voice echoing amongst the walls of the spacious room they’re in; honestly Bane manor is far too big to be comfortable sometimes. Finally though it seems as those he’s got through and Magnus looks up with a startled expression, eyes wide and mouth slack. His mouth shuts with an audible click and once again Ragnor finds himself hiding his laughter behind his hand whilst Catarina presses her lips tightly together.

“Yes my green Mrs Grundy?” He asks sarcastically, hands beginning to twitch once more. It was slightly unnerving, Ragnor found, to see Magnus in such a state as he was. In all their years of friendship, from the backstreet slums before Magnus’ father found him and took him under his wing, to this moment now, the taller male had never appeared nervous or flighty before.

This neighbour certainly was something interesting.

“Why do you care so much, who is this boy?” Raphael askes. It’s the question Ragnor himself has been dying to ask the entire day since he found out Magnus had asked for an invitation to be sent out to the cottage next door.

Raphael, who was sat opposite them, had confirmed that so far Magnus had only looked at the boy through his window during his first week of being in Week Egg but had yet to approach him or talk about him – something which the Magnus Ragnor knew would not stand for.

The question seems to make him stop. Catarina, Ragnor noticed, was observing the man’s breathing to reassure herself nothing was majorly wrong and Raphael seemed ready to bolt to a phone should an ambulance be needed.

“I heard through the grapevine a couple of weeks ago that an Alexander Lightwood had returned to New York but could find no one to confirm or deny this to me.” He starts and Ragnor takes a moment to pause.

Lightwood is a familiar name to him. Robert Lightwood was a politician, infamous for taking dodgy deals and bribes from rich city officials to make their problems disappear whilst managing to dodge any official retribution for it.

Maryse Lightwood was a socialite who moved with the upper echelons of society, looking down on those she deems beneath her. The family is old money, born from aristocracy, and Ragnor knows for a fact that the lightwoods only tolerated Magnus’ father because he was richer than them.

“I-I tried to get more information myself about him but couldn’t. You see my dear cabbage, that boy is someone I knew a few summers ago. We met at one of my father’s many properties, his family were staying there for the summer.” Magnus seems to almost lose himself to his memories and for a moment Ragnor thinks that they will receive no more information about this neighbour until the party tomorrow – if the boy turned up that was.

Vaguely Raphael remembers a Magnus of a few years ago, nineteen and ready to take on the world. He remembers Magnus complaining and crying about having to spend the summer apart from himself and Catarina but not commenting on it once he’d actually left New York. He remembers, above all else, the way in which Magnus had come back and seemed more distant, sneaking off to his room to read letters or driving into the city for a shopping trip.

He’s starting to feel the shopping trips were in name only.

“We became fast friends despite his parents opinion and spent all our time together before his family went back home. We continued to meet up for a while, created and used plans for the next summer when we saw each other again and generally were inseparable.” His voice turns wistful and Ragnor feels the pull of his heartstrings towards his friend.

Magnus had never explicitly stated his sexuality, America wasn’t exactly known as being the forefront of freedom after all, but Ragnor and Catarina had always suspected something wasn’t quite the same with their friend and this seemed to all but explicitly confirm it.

“What was he like?” Catarina asks, body tilting forward slightly in excitement. Ragnor didn’t think he’d seen her this excited since he’d presented her with a manacle on their second anniversary.

Magnus seemed to think about this question carefully and even Raphael manages to look vaguely interested in the answer. It wasn’t obvious – the man had far too much emotional control for that – but Ragnor could see it in the way his body leaned forward a tiny bit and his head was lifted just so that his eyeline was above the floor.

“He was…” Magnus began in a dreamy tone trailing off before he’s even begun properly, eyes fluttering shut as he lost himself in memories.

A subtle cough from Raphael seemed to pull it out and Ragnor witnessed the way Magnus’ unique golden green eyes seemed to clear and snap into focus. His voice became a little more professional, not entirely relaxed, and the elder realised that Magnus was now speaking in broader terms, refusing to comment on the personal affect this neighbour, this Alexander Lightwood had on him.

“He was a real swell guy Cat, a real berry of a person. Never met a man who cared more for his siblings than him, nor a man so innocent in all things. He was a real Oliver twist too, taught me things I had never seen before!” Magnus become excited as he speaks, his voice becoming lighter and louder, more expressive and less guarded. It is a humorous thing to watch Ragnor thinks.

And for the boy to know more dance moves than Magnus was something completely unexpected. Magnus had always been a knowledgeable man about dancing, able to keep up with the latest trends and movements, so to have a boy younger than him teaching him was remarkably exciting.

“What happened, why did we never meet him?” Ragnor hates to ask the question, really he does, but he needs to know. This boy clearly had a positive effect on Magnus and for the Asian man to be unsettled by his presence in West Egg, even if the boy hadn’t been aware of it when he’d first moved in, indicated that something was not quite right.

“We had a falling out on the just before the third summer. Parted on less than amiable terms and created a positively unfixable rift between us that couldn’t be solved through letters or phone calls. I don’t even know what he does for a living now.” The taller man’s voice is lower now, more sombre and Ragnor sighs heavily at the realisation that once again, Magnus had gotten his heart broken.

“When I overheard someone mention he might be back in New York I just-I just knew that somehow I’d have to see him again. It was a genius stroke of luck that he moved next door, it meant I wouldn’t have to look for him, but I don’t want to impose on him, not if he’s still angry at me. So don’t you see! A party is the best thing to do, and with an invite he has an extra incentive to come.”

The joviality of Magnus’ tone is fake, a visage of confidence that fools nobody in the room but they all pretend it does. If left too long now Magnus will resume his restless buzzing, trying to fix details of his party than need no altering and generally becoming more depressed as the evening goes on.

“Personally I think you’ve been a bluenose to us Magnus,” Ragnor begins as he takes a sip of his whiskey. He sees Raphael and Catarina raise their heads sharply in shock but across from him Magnus simply raises an eyebrow and gestures for him to continue on.

“Well only you and Cat have seen this bird, and as it would be weird for me and Raphael to just wander round, I want to know if you’ve got any photographs of him?” Its an honest question, one that within this context is more than appropriate, but secretly Ragnor wants to know what this boy looks like for personal interest.

With a smile and a slam of his drink Magnus runs off in the direction of his bedroom, leaving the three friends behind to look around curiously. With just a quick glance Ragnor knows that even though the four of them  have been through thick and thin, the presence of Alexander Lightwood was something kept from them all.

In the space of five minutes – which is quite remarkable seeing as the Bane mansion could rival a small castle in size – Magnus returns to them, waving a photograph in his hand and smoking a new cigar in his mouth. The taller male is not a habitual smoker, preferring instead the homemade brand of giggle juice the man is famous for in certain circles, so Ragnor knows his friend is deathly anxious about re-uniting with this boy.

The cigar does not go unnoticed by Catarina or Raphael either.

“Here!” Magnus declares, throwing down the photograph with a flourish and brandishing it in front of their eyes like magic. The photo is grainy and slightly unfocused, yellowed by the gradual passing of time, but Ragnor can tell his friend has kept this photo safe and preserved to the best of his ability.

Its blaringly obvious the photo was taken on the beach; sand is beneath their feet as they sit on outcroppings of rock, the gentle waves crashing in the background.

Both boys are wearing short black swimming briefs, leaving their muscular torsos bare and shapely legs on display with wide grins and carefree expressions. Their hair is wet, dripping in front of their eyes as fringes fall forward onto foreheads.

The first thing Ragnor really notices is that Alexander looks young.

His body is toned, putting Ragnor’s to shame without even trying, but he can see the tell-tale sign of slight baby fat, a certain plumpness that goes away with maturity. His smile is goofy and wild, stretching all across his face whilst a blush decorates half of his face, and his eyes are bright and shining, showing a happiness Ragnor had only ever seen in story books.

The second thing Ragnor notices is that Alexander is a looker; for a boy that was.

His jaw was chiselled, even at whatever age in the photo, and his abs clearly defined. His shoulders were broad and muscular with the sun bouncing off them in what Ragnor presumed was bright rays and his face was sculpted perfectly. He can’t see what colour his eyes are – black and white photographs tend to keep that information hidden – but regardless of that, he can see they are enticing.

From beside him Catarina let out a wistful sigh and Ragnor feels his cheeks begin to burn.

The boy’s hands are trapped between his muscular thighs, his head slight down in embarrassment as his fringe flops in front of his face, his baby face reflecting the sun. Magnus has his arm wrapped solidly round the boys shoulders, holding him close to his chest as his face slightly snuggled into the boys hair, a smile of equal width on his own face.

It strikes Ragnor that he hasn’t seen Magnus smile like this for many years. 

“Gosh Magnus how old is that boy!” For once the elder is glad that Raphael still feels okay with blurting out statements many find difficult in phrasing as he had wanted to find out the answer to that question himself. As he saw in his earlier observations, Alexander Lightwood looks quite young with a baby face and last remnants of baby fat on his body whilst Magnus looks the same as he does in this moment at twenty two.

Magnus blushes at the question and ducks his head as his eyes become fixated on the picture. “Well I was nineteen then and Alexander was…fifteen I think.” He trails off at the end, mumbling the answer under his breath to try and lessen the impact. The boy does not look sixteen in this photo and Ragnor can feel his scepticism rising at the answer, especially as Magnus made it sound like a question.

“Really?” Raphael asks with a deadpan tone, raised eyebrow betraying his true feelings on the matter. “Just how long had Alexander Lightwood been fifteen Magnus?”

“He was going to be sixteen in a week.”

Ragnor let that sink in for a moment. Magnus a few summers ago had gone on holiday to one of his father’s properties where he met the Lightwood family and under all the good judgement he held had decided, at nineteen, to pursue a relationship with a boy only fifteen years old.

Jesus Christ.

“Magnus!” Catarina screamed, slapping him on the back of the head in anger, “What exactly were you think-

“Catarina it wasn’t what you think!” He cried, holding hands out in front of her desperately. Golden green eyes cast a glance around the room, taking in the mix of anger and disbelief on his friends faces before standing up tall, raising his head high in defiance.

“We only became friends that summer, nothing more I assure you, I wouldn’t dream of doing anything, honestly what on earth do you all think of me!” He snatched the photo away from them and Ragnor noticed the slightly embarrassed look on Catarina’s face; she wouldn’t apologise to him, her pride was too strong, but she probably would be getting him drinks and helping more with the party to make up for the slap.

Ragnor sighed, sipped his drink with as much conviction as possible and held out his hand to Magnus. “Show me the entertainment list then.”

They had a party to plan.

 


 

 

Out of all the parties Clary had gone to, she could say without an ounce of hesitation that Magnus Bane’s was undoubtably the one she was most excited about. Walking up the driveway the music came through the walls of the house to the outside and greeted her with splendour and a glance at the large gothic mansion made of gold. It was bigger than anything Clary had ever seen before and she had to take a moment to gaze up at it.

Dragging a reluctant-but-not-really Jace with her, Clary moved towards the large open doors already filled with crowds of people and pushed through, eager to see if the splendour inside matched that of the outside.

She overheard one of the guests speculating that people had been arriving since noon as another wondered at the Rolls-Royce parked in the driveway; she didn’t care for either titbit of information, eager to push past it all and get to the actual party.

The second they pushed through the crowd, Clary could hardly contain the gasp that resounded within her.

The room was decorated with rich gold coverings that glimmered from the light of the chandelier, white marble floors shone that brighter than her future and stretched far down the hallway, a buffet table on the other side of the room was filled with glistening hors’doeuvre, spiced baked hams, salads of harlequin designs and what appeared to pastry pigs and turkeys wrapped in a dark gold covering.

Clary, enticed by the first room, dragged a protesting Jace with her deeper into the house, emerging into the main hall with wide eyes and grins. A bar stood proudly with a real brass rail wrapped round it, bottles of liqueurs and gins stocked proudly for viewing pleasure as server after server poured drinks of golden liquid into glasses or mouths.

On tables around the room, stood tall and strong, bottles of champagne were arranged in neat rows raising high into the formation of a pyramid. It was nothing like she had never seen and Clary was so grateful that she had finally agreed to follow her boyfriend to one of his many ‘parties’, regardless of if she hadn’t met the host.

In fact, where was that host?

At the back of the room, surrounded by couples of various drunkenness, was an actual orchestra, something Clary had never seen beyond the realm of the theatre she performed in. It was a whole pitiful of oboes and trombones, saxophones and viols, cornets and piccolos, drums that beat rhythms high and low, music sweeping across the floor like a magic enchantment, enticing all to dance.

The room was alive with chatter and laughter, tittering from corners and shouts from the middle. Clary didn’t recognise anyone, and she knows that they don’t recognise her, but still both she and Jace were welcomed warmly by hundreds of ‘friends’. Jace smiled at her, that heart-breaking smile that caught her heart the first time and grabbed her hands before swinging her wildly into the fray to dance.

She doesn’t know how long exactly they’ve dancing before she catches sight of a familiar head of hair, waves of black that cascade down a bared back. Izzy was dancing opposite from her in a risky dress that scandalously exposed the majority of her back and cut off at the knee, bracelets jangling loudly from her wrist as Simon, dressed handsomely in a pinstripe suit, twirled her round the room.

Their dancing is base, wild and free and Clary knows beyond the haze of alcohol that they all danced with each other at some point, laughing loudly and carelessly as the band continued playing.

After another amount of undetermined time dancing, Izzy dragged them all away to the back garden, pushing and shoving crowds of drunk partygoers out of her way and once more Clary found herself blown away by the grandeur of this place. The garden, as the rest of the house was full of splendour and delights she’d never seen.

There was a normal layout of a garden, luscious green grass where people of various states of dress were lounging, talking, drinking and at one glance in a bush kissing. In the middle, used by what seemed an entire team of swimmers and football players, was a sparkling blue pool about twice as large as the apartment she shared with Jace. It looked inviting, waves of blue lapping at the side as muscular males splashed about and jumped at each other.

A polite cough from the blond on her arm drew her attention away from their wet bodies.

At the very end of the garden, partially hidden by trees and statue decorations was what looked like a tennis court and Clary could see the fire light up in Jace’s eyes as he caught sight of it. He loved competition and used every available chance to flaunt his natural ability with sports.

Izzy pulled them over to a table partially surrounded by other partygoers and collapsed down on a chair, claiming the drink from Simon’s hand and dipping the bill. They all sat round talking absently, speculating on the lack of appearance from the host and the current fashions on display before Clary finally plucked up the courage to face down with the female Lightwood.

“So Izzy, from your telephone call I was expecting to see a certain tall, dark and handsome Lightwood brother with us today.” Clary couldn’t help but wonder where the eldest Lightwood sibling was that evening after the frantic and rather undecipherable telephone call she had received in the waking hours of the morning.

Izzy had woken her up, screaming down the telephone that a certain lightwood had received an invitation to the most glorious party and they would all be in attendance whether or not they had something on. Absently she had wondered exactly why Alec had received an invitation to a party people were allowed to just turn up at but Izzy had steamrolled right through her questions and order her to pick them up at seven o’clock on pain of all her flapper dresses matching the colour of her fiery hair.

Beside her Jace scoffed, muttering a quick “he’s not handsome” in a petulant tone, as Izzy huffed angrily, pulling another drink out of somewhere and swallowing it.

“He’s busy.”

Clary waited, expecting a follow-up comment about how he was lying or how he was going to turn up at a later point but Izzy just sat back and stole Simon’s cigarette out of his mouth. “And?” She prompted as Jace moved away from the table in search of another drink, surely Izzy wasn’t letting this go after how excited she was in the morning.

“Busy, he said, when I called him. I was going to have a go at him, drive down in our Iron and drag him out of the house but he gave his reasons. Legitimate and everything.” She sighed in annoyance again, puffing out the smoke from the cigarette and huffing back into her seat.

Clary could see Izzy was absolutely gearing up to pump Alec full of lead when she next saw him but ultimately understood he wouldn’t be coming to the party this evening for whatever reason he gave. Izzy stumped out her cigarette onto the table, planted a kiss onto Simon’s waiting lips and stood up, turning to walk away towards the main hall “I’m gonna get some giggle juice, be rate whilst I’m gone.”

Clary turned towards Simon with a perfectly sculpted eyebrow lifted in wonderment and puzzlement, expecting an answer about his dolls behaviour. He smiled at her in that cheeky way he had retained since childhood and took a sip of his drink. “Alec Lightwood has a legit reason to not be here and Izzy had no choice but to accept it or face the famous Lightwood silence.”

Clary found herself laughing at the smug expression on Simon’s face as he crossed his legs and took a swig of her drink.

Suddenly from beside her the chair was all but ripped out of its position as someone sat down, slamming a champagne bottle on the table. Clary looked up in surprise at the new person and found herself mesmerised at a pair of golden green eyes lined with black kohl staring inquisitively at her. “Um…hello?” She questioned hesitantly as two more people joined the man, standing behind him with slightly exasperated expressions on their faces.

“Hello darlings, I was just listening to your conversation-

“Excuse me-

“And I overheard you talking about a certain Alexander Lightwood, is he here?” Clary took pause at the mans eager expression, the way his arms crossed over on the table straining his shirt around his biceps, his body  leaning over them in anticipation of the answer, his eyes alight with curiosity.

“He’s not.” Simon called out from his position opposite them, “He’s busy with work.”

The mans face fell almost imperceptibly before a smiling mask was put in place, his body relaxing a little more but dropping in disappointment. “Work?”

“Oh yes!” Clary said excitably, finally gathering her wits enough to engage in the conversation, her excitement bubbling at the chance of talking to someone so well put together. At a party like this Clary wanted to seem important and in the know, so she turned to the unknown man prepared to unleash all her knowledge on him.

“He’s dancing this evening, he’s in ballet don’t you know. Trained in France and everything for a few years before coming back here.” The man looks surprised at this information, shocked in fact, and Clary thinks this is probably because ballet is a new thing in America and to know a ballet dancer was a pretty big thing.

“Also, he was busy all day choreographing me and the other hoofer girls at the New Amsterdam for the show next week so-“

“Right, thank you so much. Goodbye.”

His departure, like his entrance, was swift and left Clary with a case of whiplash as she attempted to follow him with her eyes. She watched with confusion as his two friends swiftly followed behind him, gathering their heads together and discussing something rapidly with varying degrees of hand gestures.

Whoever that man was, really wanted to know about Alec.

From the other side of the table Simon stifled a laugh at her drunkenly bemused expression and turned to welcome back the Lightwood siblings with a broad smile, taking a drink from Jace’s hand and instantly telling them of the strange encounter they’d just experienced.

“C’mon doll” Jace said a few minutes later, eager to get away from Izzy’s pestering questions and in bed, “Lets blow this joint and head home.”

Clary said her goodbyes with a drunken nod before following her boyfriend silently, wondering vehemently just who that man was as she settled into the car, thinking back over the numerous acquaintances she shares with the eldest Lightwood child.

Just who was that man?

 


 

 

Tessa hurries to the door in a flurry of anxiety and worry, barely parking her car and shutting the door before running as fast as she can. Evidence of last nights party litters the front garden, streamers of gold, empty bottle and broken glasses, a couple of pieces of underwear, but Tessa ignores them in favour of knocking loudly and obtrusively on the door.

She waits only seconds before a heavily disgruntled Raphael opens the door, blearily wiping at his eyes as he stares blankly at her.

“Where’s Magnus?” She asks, tearing through the door in alarm and entering the grand hallway, deliberately ignoring the couple passed out on the floor by her feet. Raphael points in the vague direction of the stairs and Tessa waste’s no time in dashing up them as fast as her heels will allow her and moving towards Magnus’ bedroom.

She crashes the door open to see Magnus calmly drinking tea (Tea? Since when had Magnus drunk tea in the morning?) and watching the sunrise from his large double window. She breathes heavily, regaining the breath she lost in the mad dash upstairs and glares angrily as the man turns his head slowly towards her, an elegant blissed out smile on his face.

Its wide and excited and Tessa feels some of the anger wash away at the sight. The message Magnus had sent her, the urgent cry for help that had her dashing from her lovers bed, is something that has her friend smiling, really smiling, and she cant fault that; no matter how much she wants to strangle him.

“What happened Magnus, I just got an urgent telephone call demanding ‘urgent help of a life and death matter’”

He stands up in that nimble way she loves and stretches out his arm, a shining white piece of paper held between his fingers with elegant writing scrawled on top. Hesitantly she takes it from him, worried at the contents, and begins to read eagerly – her love of reading taking over.

 

Dear Magnus,

Thank you for the invite, it was well received. Unfortunately I was working all morning and evening yesterday after finally getting back to work and so was unable to come. If you see fit to hold another party next week at the same time, I will surely be in attendance as I shall have the day off.

Looking forward to seeing you,

Alexander Lightwood.

 

Tessa looks up, a smile tugging at the corner of her lips as she meets Magnus’ excited gaze, and hands the letter back, allowing  a small chuckle to escape her lip. Magnus offers her a drink and she gladly accepts, drinking daintily as she always does, and proceeds to sit down at his desk.

“He’s coming Tessa.”

Chapter Text

Camille wasn’t entirely sure why she had chosen ten o’clock in the morning to make her visit to Magnus. If he’d been partying the night before, which of course he had, then the Asian was unlikely to get out of bed before noon and Camille would have had a wasted journey.

Which was a shame really.

Her blonde hair was cut in a beautifully shaped bob that lined her face and promoted her button nose perfectly, her eyes were dark and smoky, her cheeks showing a healthy rouge and lips stained bright and sharp to highlight her positively darling features. Her dress was cut dangerously short both above the knee and with a plunging neckline, coloured a midnight black to contrast her pale flawless skin in the best possibly way.

If Magnus and she were still together she imagined he would be on his knees in worship by this point, offering her the world and everything in it. But that was not the reason she was currently here. Magnus and she had parted some years ago and all lingering romantic affection had gone from them by now.

Camille sighed, annoyed and petulant, before raising her hand once more to the outrageously designed door and knocked. The sound echoed deep within the home before drifting away into silence and for a moment Camille was prepared to rip every strand of blonde hair out of her head if no one answered.

She waited a few moments more - just where was that butler – but ultimately turned to leave, resigned to the fact that she’d driven herself to west egg for no good reason. She wasn’t sure why she thought visiting the Bane mansion at this time in the morning was smart, she knew Magnus wouldn’t be up and even if he were he might be incredibly busy, after all Magnus was now an incredibly-

“Mrs Belcourt?”

The voice came from behind her; moody, low and slightly accented in that exotic way she remembered, and Camille turned with a confident smile wide on her face, painted lips stretching out into her most common ‘man-eater’ look. Raphael was stood in the doorway, shirt rumpled and tie loose, with an expression of confusion and uncertainty etched onto his face.

“Why hello Raphael, could you be an absolute darling and show me to the Sheik please, I drove up all night to just get here and would appreciate him getting out of bed, honestly I was prepared to bump him off if no one answered the door.” She strutted towards the door as she spoke and passed Raphael like a breeze, unflinching in his glare.

It was nothing less than she expected from the butler.

The Spaniard simply bowed his head and made off in the direction of Magnus’ bedroom – a place she no longer had unlimited access to – and so Camille gladly took a seat in the waiting area. She observed the place surrounding her, surprised at the extent of lavishness and decoration put in place.

Magnus was clearly in the preparation stage of a party, a vivacious one at that, and as she had been made aware by some subtle letters from Ragnor (and non-so subtle letters from Catarina) it was one of upmost importance.

He’d asked her to come down and talk to Magnus, to assure that he wasn’t spiralling out of control, and that everything he was doing, all the planning and pining, was out of genuine affection and not a misguided attempt at numbing everything else in his life.

He hadn’t told her however, just why the party was so important.

Camille didn’t have to wait long and soon a prancing Magnus was coming at her, arms wide and expectant, smile open and free and she wasted no time in allowing herself to fall into his arm. It had been so long since she – and Magnus probably – had been hugged so strongly. They stayed in the hall for a few minutes, doing nothing more than hugging, relishing in the presence of each other and Camille just knew her journey had been worth it.

She had broken Magnus when they were dating, turned him into a hollow body to play with and grow bored with, but together they had begun to build him back up by sharing moments like this after they split. Moments of true intimacy without conditions, of love without lust and of affection without the need for it to end. It had started Magnus’ healing process and Camille was eager to see it through to the end.

They separated far too early – Magnus did gave the best hugs – and the Asian moved her forward towards his private living space, offering her coffee and alcohol along the way. He pushed her into a chair of unfathomable plushness and wondered over to his private drinks area to make them both strong coffees, a broad smile present on his face.

“You look good.” She thought out loud, watching curiously as Magnus froze for a second before resuming his task. “Healthier, more like…”

She didn’t say ‘Like yourself’ but knew Magnus understood what she meant when the smile softened into something less ‘host’ and a little more ‘Magnus’. “Thank you.” He replied softly, wondering back over to her chair and offering a small cup of dark, bitter liquid.

“I must ask Camille, why are you here?” His voice remained steady, in the passive but friendly refrain he’d chosen to use around her when alone, but she could see the genuine curiosity in his eyes.

“I’m going to be honest Magnus, I’m here because Ragnor asked me to.” She’d taken up a policy with Magnus after they spilt up, after her nasty habits had been pointed out to her and her manipulations brought to life, that she would always be honest with the elder. It was another way she was building him back up.

“Ragnor?” Magnus takes a sip of his coffee and looks puzzled, frazzled almost, and makes it sound as if Ragnor was nothing more than a figure of her own imagination.

“Yes that Jalopy’s been messaging me again.” She laughs, slapping her hand down on Magnus’ knee in hearty amusement. She can tell by the flush of his cheeks that Magnus knows the exact reason Ragnor’s been in contact. “Tells me you’ve got a new flame-

“A what?”

“Carrying a flame, stuck on, someone to neck in the struggle buggy-

“Now Camille-

“A crush Magnus! Ragnor has told me you’ve got a new crush but has refused to tell me more. He hinted that the next party is in honour of her but didn’t tell me exactly, and he positively refuses to tell me who this choice bit of calico is or is she a cancelled stamp and you’ve turned to more she-

“It’s a boy.”

Camille can count on one hand the number of times she’s been made speechless but Magnus’ statement knocks her back quite considerably. Her mouth shuts loudly and her eyes widen and Magnus grips the handle of his cup tight enough to turn his knuckles white.

She had always suspected, even before they had begun their relationship, that Magnus had some attraction towards the same sex and had been confident that their relationship had started as a fallout from the breaking of one such attraction but a distinct lack of proof meant she could prove nothing.

It would explain a lot about Magnus if he liked men as well as women, would explain some of his suggestions and comments, his actions  and mannerisms.

Perhaps Camille should feel slighted about Magnus not telling her the entire truth of his being when they’d been dating but knowing how she was – they were- back then it was probably for the best.

“What’s his name?” She asks simply, desiring nothing more than for Magnus to feel relaxed in her presence once again. Her question has the intended affect and Camille see’s the elder’s shoulders slump slightly as if released from a string, the smile on his face becoming even more genuine.

Her and Magnus have a long way to go before they can truly be friends once again, even longer than that until Magnus can fully trust her again or resume to be how he was before but she was confident they could get there in the end. Magnus was incredibly strong and Ragnor had asked her to be with him on the morning of the party so clearly progress was being made between them.

“His name is Alexander Lightwood.” Magnus begins, a love drunk smile adorning his face, his eyes drifting off into something high above the skies and Camille takes a sip of coffee to hide her smile.

She listens for hours, patiently and happily, at the tale Magnus tells her. She listens to him describe beaches and the sea, pale skin and blinding eyes with an innocence never felt before, her guard practically non-existent as she watches her old friend get caught up in the description of this boy.

Magnus tells her of the difficulty in realising his feelings for a fifteen year old and the events of that final summer, something she’s sure both Ragnor and Catarina have been told recently and doesn’t stop to interrupt him. Its hours before he finishes but Camille finds she doesn’t particularly mind listening to Magnus, sad only that she has to leave before the party starts.

Its as she’s leaving, bag and hat collected, hand clasped between Magnus’ own that she speaks again. Magnus has never needed her approval for anything, not really, but she knows how important it is to him that he gets her approval for this one thing, arguably the most important party Magnus has ever thrown in his life. Camille understands that tonight her friend will either find love or reject it completely.

“Go get him tiger.” She whispers into his ear, pecking his cheek before turning towards her car, the wind caressing her face like a lovers touch.

Go get him indeed.

Chapter Text

Sometimes in his life Simon Lewis regretted ever getting involved with Isabelle Lightwood. The woman was a bearcat from the moment he had met her, a far cry from the cancelled stamps he’d grown up around, but sometimes she burned too hot even for him. Her passions launching far beyond what could be considered acceptable.

He loved her ardently of course, enough to shackle him to her for life, but sometimes his fiancé really needed to learn how to read a room. The party at Bane’s mansion was in four hours and yet already they were settled at Alec’s house getting ready – albeit reluctantly on both male parts.

Isabelle had marched into her brother’s – admittedly – charming house, cared little for the fact he was writing on his precious typewriter, and ordered him to try on some outfits because “You need to look like a real berry!”

Simon already knew it was the older teen’s first day off in a while, and he could read in those famous cerulean eyes that he was rightfully annoyed at his sister. On and on had he heard about how Alec was trying to write a novel but never had time to work on it and it seemed he’d planned to do considerable work on it today had Isabelle not barged in unannounced.

Henceforth, his eyes were filled with anger and fond frustration when he gazed upon her, the now abandoned manuscript lying face down on his desk.

Isabelle, it seemed, remained clueless as a dumb Dora about this.

“Now Alec, won’t you look positively delightful in this outfit!” She cried out, eagerly handing her brother another smart and expensive looking suit. Simon hid a chuckle under his breath as Alec huffed and stormed into his bedroom to change. This was the tenth suit she’d forced him to try, each time finding something massively unappealing about them once worn in order to force him to try another one; but it had stopped being funny after the third suit.

He approaches the situation wearily, “Isabelle, cat, don’t you think you should tone it down a bit?” but it seems he has done the wrong thing as Isabelle turns her head towards him with a glare.

“Simon Lewis, this boy has no sense of fashion at all! He received a personal invite for this party, I’s gotta make sur’ he looks good.” She moves towards him as she talks, planting herself in his lap as she admonishes him for his words. Her pinned hair shook as she jumped at him, her flapper dress swaying violently with the movement. He saw the fiery dame he fell for reflected in her face.

He loves it when she gets feisty and worked up, her strong new York accent comes out a little more, and the flapper he knows comes out of the poised woman before him. Isabelle’s break away from the people who raised her.

A heavy sigh comes from the bedroom and the door opens slowly to reveal Alec in all his glory.

Now Simon is well aware he’s not a cake-eater at any rate, but he is confident enough in his love for Isabelle to admit that her brother looks keen. His suit jacket is a form-fitting pale red colour with vertical white stripes, its snug to his lithe frame and accentuates the strong line of muscle in his arms and back. His shirt underneath is a pale cream colour, plain but tight to his body, complete with a dark navy bow-tie.

His trousers are an identical shade of white to the stripes lining his suit but they’re incredibly snug to his skin, almost to indecent if you ask Simon; He wants to know what sought of place Isabelle went to when looking for these clothes.

On a base level he knows Alec is both a ballet and jazz performer – he is making his money as one of the prima danseur’s of America after all and nightclub choreographers – but with these trousers Simon can see the way the muscles in his legs bulge and shift as he walks, can see the definition in his movement. It’s a surprising amount for one who looks so lithe and nubile.

Isabelle looks exceedingly please with herself with this outfit. Simon watches as she says nothing but raises her hands slightly as if washing her hands of her brother; she’s done her work and now will move onto other projects.

Namely himself and her.

“You see brother mine; you look swell! Magnus Bane is one lucky fella.” She cries out in excitement, moving off his lap to embrace her brother who is looking increasingly frustrated the more this charade plays out.

With the mention of Magnus, Simon watches as Alec chokes on thin air and proceeds to pound his chest. “Isabelle!” He shouts, scandalised beyond measure.

Simon has never been explicitly told of Alec’s ‘preference’ for men, no one dares mention it out loud, but he is aware that Alec has always been different in how he views women; its one of the primary reasons the Lightwood parents no longer talk to Alec.

But seeing the way the older teen’s face lights up like a fire hydrant and he can’t seem to catch his breath all but confirms his initial suspicions. At some point in Alec Lightwood’s life, Magnus Bane had been a significant figure, possible in the same way he was with Isabelle or Jace was with Clary. The party tonight, no doubt, was in the blue eyed boys honour and was a welcome from Magnus himself.

Or was it an attempt of wooing?

Distractedly he watches as Isabelle fuses over her brother like a mother hen, grabbing him a drink whilst making sure he doesn’t spill any on his suit for the evening, cooing at him to soothe his harsh gasping and breathing.

He wonders when the pair had time for a relationship.

Alec left for France when he was sixteen, to finish up his training as a danseur, and had only returned back to America a few months ago on a commission with a ballet company based in New York, once he’d turned nineteen. That meant he and Magnus had met before that moment, when Alec was under sixteen and Magnus god-knows how old.

Simon wants to know if their relationship ever was a ball-and-chain style relationship he and Isabelle have, if Alec or Magnus ever contemplated getting a handcuff for the other despite it being illegal in their country.

There’s a world of information he nor Isabelle will ever know about Alexander Lightwood, he thinks, but he finds he’d not too concerned about it if, ultimately, his future brother in law finds happiness form this part of it tonight. Alec has never been in a relationship during Simon and Isabelle’s courtship and he the younger teen thinks its about time that changed.

His small, personal smile that had formed through his observations disappears however when Isabelle turns to him with a dangerous gleam in her eye.

“Come now Si, we have our own things to try on whilst my brother goes back to his writing.” She scoffs, but both Simon and Alec know she longs to read what her brother writes; he doesn’t know how many times he’s seen her trying to sneak a peek at the manuscript.

Four hours to go. Isabelle couldn’t possibly play dress-up for that long?

Surely?

 


 

The party had been in full swing for over an hour but Magnus had yet to move from his perch near the door. He’d sat there from before the party had begun and seemed not to notice the endless streams of socialites and high-class folks wandering in and admiring the splendour once it had.

Will had to believe this was, by far, the most extravagant party he’d ever seen Magnus throw and he’d seen a lot, almost all of them. Everywhere you looked drinks flowed, diamonds glittered and light streamed. Performers of all styles were set up, a new one in every room, and each had their very own stage built for their performance.

He’d seen firebreathers, singers, dancers, sword swallowers, gymnastics, musicians, a whole host of orchestra instruments stuffed into a small room for any one to use. He’d seen champagne towers raised high to the roof, golden showers of fruit tumbling down into glasses below. Chandeliers of various styles and colours flashed above them, crafting streams of coloured lights and patterns onto the floors below.

And yet, Magnus noticed not.

Magnus had dressed equally as extravagantly this evening, a dark navy jacket lined with white seams on the lapels covered a startling white, crisp shirt underneath and around his neck snuggly sat a pale red bow-tie. His trousers were a bright white that shone radiantly even in the darker corner of the room.

Each item had clearly been pressed by Raphael during the day and meticulously placed upon his body to best show off Magnus’ assets. He looked like something straight out of a Magazine with his hair all coifed up and eyes lined with kohl.

Will had been stood watching his friend for a good ten minutes by this point – a shame considering that his favourite silver haired violinist was in the other room – and had not seen Magnus blink. It was highly disturbing and very concerning.

After he saw another person’s failed attempt at gaining Magnus attention, Will moved closer until he ended up in his friends direct line of sight. Magnus seemed determined to stare right through his body as he didn’t remove his eyes from their position in direction of the door despite Will blocking off his line of sight.

He waved his hand, inches away from his friends face and Magnus’ golden iris’ finally flickered in his direction, annoyance and confusion shining in their orbs. “William?” Came his befuddled question and Will sighed at Magnus’ absent mind.

“Magnus, just what are you doing?”

Magnus seemed not to understand the question,

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, wet rag, that I’ve never seen you look so nervous at one of your own parties before. What’s wrong with you!” Will sat down gingerly next to his friend and placed an arm around his shoulders. Normally, Magnus was keen for any kind of affection from friends but surprisingly this time he moved out from under Will’s arm and nervously looked around the room.

“Magnus?”

“Ha-ha, nervous? Me? Come on Will, you know I never get nervous at one of these parties! I’m just…tired! That’s all.” Magnus both sounds and looks nervous but before Will can reply he practically runs away to the other side of the room and continues his endless staring at the door.

Will sees his hands twitching in nervous gestures.

“Don’t take his rejection too hard William,” comes a distinctly British voice behind him and Will welcomes the presence of Catarina and Ragnor on either side of him. “Magnus is meeting an old beau tonight; one I believe he had genuine feelings for.”

Will turns his head quickly at this information, eyes wide and mouth open in shock. Magnus was expecting someone? Here? Tonight? “He invited him and everything.” Catarina supplies and the void in Will’s brain seems to expand. Invited? He?

Well the he wasn’t so much a surprise really if you actually looked at who Magnus would ogle at during his parties.

“Tonight!” He exclaims - a little too loudly if nearby glares show anything. “Magnus never mentioned anything to me.” Will can’t help but feel displaced, wasn’t Magnus supposed to be a close friend?

“Yeah, pretty cute too if you ask me.” Catarina helpfully adds in and Will watches as Ragnor rolls his eyes at his wife and elbows her in the ribs playfully. “He showed us a picture of them both a week or so ago.”

“He showed you a picture? Gosh I can’t believe he never said anything to me, or Jem for that matter. Can you tell me anything about him?” Will wants to know, he’s desperate for it. Whatever he can scrounge up he will return home with and tell his lovers about instantly.

Magnus Bane had only ever fallen for one person, that he knew of, before and that had ended sourly. Camille had been a parasite and sucked everything from Magnus before they’d managed to part them and whilst he was doing better, Will felt the need to make sure it never happened again.

“His name is Alexander Light…something, they met when Magnus was nineteen and the boy fifteen – I know we thought the same thing – but nothing ever came of it and after the summer he turned sixteen he was sent away to France to train as a ballet dancer.” Cat starts with, her voice warm and eyes soft as she looks at where Magnus is guarding the door.

Will ponders over this information. If the boy was fifteen when they met he would be nineteen now so that age thing wasn’t so much of a controversial thing anymore – even if the start of their relationship was a little off putting. And a ballet dancer as well? Will has never personally met one but they’re all the rage currently and through the bull market he’d heard they get invited to all sorts of things.

Ragnor continues to provide him with information as they all watch their friend cautiously. “Yes, and  a Jazz dancer, apparently he choreographed the dancers as the New Amsterdam the other week as well. According to Magnus he’s a swell fella, caring and loving to his family, almost loyal to a fault. He’s apparently a very intelligent, well-read man with whom Magnus can hold a discussion with on a myriad of topics.”

“What happened, I mean besides the boy leaving for France.” Something must have happened between for Magnus to never have even broached the topic of having a beau in his youth, regardless of gender.

“A falling out of some kind,” Cat responds quietly, as if Magnus would be able to overhear them from where he perched, “Magnus called it irreparable, unfixable for the letters and phone calls, so it must have been something awful.”

“Do you have a picture?” Will wants to see this boy for himself now, wants to see the one who caught Magnus’ eye long before any of them ever knew about it. Catarina produces a small photo from her back and hands it to him. Its yellowed and faded but the bright smile and alluring body are on clear display and Will can see the instant appeal in the boy.

“He gave both us and Raphael a picture so that we could positively identify him if he arrives and Magnus should miss him. Its old and faded but it will do the job perfectly should we need it to.” Cat continues but Will keeps his eyes locked on the warm and youthful face of this Alexander that made their friend so nervous.

“I’m awfully sorry about earlier Will.” Comes a voice in front of him and Will raises his eyes to see Magnus stood there with a sheepish expression on his face. “I didn’t mean to be so rude.”

“Nah that’s alright Magnus, I understand now thanks to Cat and Rag over here.” He replies fondly and Magnus face erupts into a relived smile. He wraps the Asian into a strong hug, reassuring him of his love and care and showing Magnus his support for this endeavour. The photo remains in his hand and he can see the crinkling edges in his peripheral vision, wisps of black hair at the corners of the picture.

Its Ragnor who breaks him out of his observations with a startled and frankly loud gasp. Will whips his head up like gunfire, releases Magnus from his hold and stares out to the door where a particular male has just entered.

Alexander looked nervous, hands fidgeting and blue (Blue! Like sapphires) eyes darting around anxiously. His steps are hesitant and his movements slow, black hair cascading the tops of his eyelashes and already Will can see the draw of the man. The indecent trousers he’s wearing are attracting attention and the boy looks uncertain at the stares, his cheeks flushing and biting his lip.

Will doesn’t bother to see if anyone has come with the boy before he turns Magnus around to face the door and nudges him in that direction. “Go Magnus, you’re boy is here.” He whispers and forcefully shoves his friend closer.

Raphael had joined them now, a tray of drinks adorning his hands, and the small group watch as Magnus cautiously makes his way over the younger boy, his steps slow and staccato as if hesitant at moving forward.

Finally he reaches his beau and the group stare unashamedly as Magnus taps the boy gently on the shoulder to gain his attention. They see the way in which the smaller boy at first looks startled by the touch but then a giant, radiant smile adorns his face as he turns and catches sight of Magnus. His blue eyes light up with adoration and happiness and his smile warms as he gazes up towards the elder male.

Magnus says something to him, voice lost to the loud jazz and the crowd, and Alexander nods shyly, cheeks flushing once again as he bites his lips. Magnus grabs two flutes of champagne from a near by stand and willingly hands one over to the boy as they begin a walk of the room.

Their eyes never stray from one another and their heads remain close and bowed to keep the conversation private. The walk slowly and carelessly, absorbed in each other and nothing else. Their smiles are fond and loving and Will can see the same love Magnus holds reflecting in Alexander’s eyes.

The group follow them slowly around the house, watching as Magnus leads his beau from one room to the next in endless conversation, occasionally coming out of their bubble to reply to someone’s question or greeting. They never touch but walk so close that space between them seems not to exists, their empty hands catching every so often and their shoulders brushing.

Physically Magnus is both taller and muscular than Alexander, his shoulders wide, chest sinewy and arms herculean to Alexander’s lithe and willowy frame, delicate legs and arms but together they make a beautiful pair, so perfectly contrasting yet unified and Will can see the eyes assessing them both hungrily as they walk past.

They must have been walking unobstructed for hours, endlessly discussing their issues and worries to one another as well as their love because neither of the males look uncomfortable or angry with the other as Will might have expected. Instead they both look blissfully happy as they mooch about the house, ignoring the various performers and dancers littered around.

The party seemed only to get more raucous as the night progressed, and the entertainment became more lively and vulgar as guests drank increasing amounts. The pair (and the small hidden group) had been walking and talking for hours upon hours, unnoting of the party reaching its pinnacle of the evening.

Amongst the chaotic and fast-paced party happening around them, Magnus raised a tawny hand and delicately stroked the pale cheek of his paramour, a soft smile ornamenting both their faces. Will watched as Magnus spoke tenderly to the boy in a low voice and the younger male responded in a positive, eager nodding of the head.

Magnus turned around and came towards the direction of their group. Will tried to look as though they hadn’t been following the pair around all evening and in panic turned and stared at the corner of the room, cursing his inability to make this seem normal. The others, it seemed, had similar ideas if Raphael’s impression of a lamp was any indicator. He was thankful Ragnor had wandered off at some point in the evening or he would never let them live it down.

He said nothing to them but walked past as if in a daze and Alexander followed quickly behind, body turned inwards as if trying to keep Magnus as close as possible. The pair passed the group, once again absorbed in their own world and they watched as Magnus linked their pinkies together and walked Alexander up the stairs – an area no guest was allowed to go.

Their smiles spoke of only soft affection and conversation, so Will didn’t think anything was going to happen, but still he felt proud and amused at his friends direction this evening.

Will laughed, high and loud, and shook his head fondly at the situation. Now Magnus was out of the way he could go pay a visit to the handsome silver haired man and brown haired woman he knew were in one of the instrument rooms.

He only hoped his friend had found his happiness.

Chapter Text

Raphael’s drove up the Bane mansion drive on Sunday morning expecting to find a field of goof’s half seas over; he had already planned out the best way to tackle each room with his mop and buckets.

The previous night had gotten massively rowdy, more so than Raphael had ever seen before at one of Magnus’ parties, with drinks being spilled all over the floor and walls, guests loosing their inhibitions as quickly as their clothing and all manner of scandalous and shocking things happening.

He didn’t think he could ever look at a wooden doorknob the same.

The garden at the front of the house was scattered with ossified people and various items of clothing hanging from all available surfaces. The outdoor pool had multiple pieces of underwear floating about and Raphael was confident the bush near the tennis court had a person’s leg sticking out of it.

He was going to need a lot of joe to get through today.

Raphael sighed heavily and moved quickly to the grand rococo style doors that belonged to his friend, mentally preparing himself for the trauma he would soon be facing from inside. He slipped the key into the lock – admittedly surprised they’d been locked in the first place – and entered into the grand hallway.

“Applesauce!” Raphael yelled in surprise, immediately asking forgiveness should his mother ever hear that word fall from his mouth; she may not be near him, but he wouldn’t put it past her to know.

The hallway was completely clear of bodies, or clothing, or drink, or anything. If Raphael didn’t know better he would have thought it was Saturday morning, before Magnus and himself began the process of decorating and preparing.

Cautiously he moved from room to room, checking for any sign of life or general destruction he’d come to understand during his time working for Magnus. Everything was back to the way it was normally, completely free of any sign of a party happening only a mere seven hours earlier.

Magnus, who usually didn’t rise on a Sunday until noon earliest, wouldn’t have done the tidying himself, so Raphael found himself completely and utterly confused. “I need a hair of the dog.” He exclaimed quietly to himself, reaching out to Magnus’ drink’s table and grabbing the closest bit of moonshine he could get his hand on.

The creek of a floorboard above him announced someone’s presence in the mansion – Magnus would still be asleep this early in the morning so it most certainly wouldn’t be him making a noise. Instantly alert, Raphael silently placed the alcohol back down and began a slow creeping pace towards the staircase, moving up each step soundlessly to allow for surprise.

The noise was coming from Magnus’ bedroom, a sacred place that no guest was ever allowed to enter on pain of being banned from a Magnus Bane party. Whilst Raphael had seen his employer (and reluctant friend) find someone at his parties before, never had they been brought back to the bedroom.

Raphael recalled what he remembered of the night before - an ethel looking man of a short stature and tight muscles, a long period of bull-talk, endless partying, a leading up the stairs through the barest of connections.

But Magnus usually sent anyone who went upstairs – usually to the parlour room – down when he was done with them, so clearly that boy wasn’t still in the mansion. Raphael grabbed a candle stick from a nearby cover and gripped it tightly in his hand for safety.

He may not be the best or most technically trained fighter, but Raphael lived with a big family in a bad area, so he knows how to use his fists most effectively should the need arise. The creaking noise had stopped now, but the door of Magnus’ room was slightly ajar and a small stream of light filtered through into the dark hallway and Raphael saw a shadow pass by.

He held back his breath, keeping his position completely hidden from the intruder and carefully extended his arm towards the door, preparing himself for whatever villain or thief he would come across.

He hoped Magnus hadn’t been murdered in his sleep, he had a pay check to pick up at the end of the week.

He swung the door open to reveal the bright and open bedroom belonging to Magnus. “Jeepers!” Came a whispered shout, and Raphael turned towards the window to see a startled Magnus clutching desperately at his chest in shock, “give a fella some warning would you Raphael, I nearly spilled my coffee!”

Raphael took stock of the room before him , brain unable to comprehend the sight of Magnus up and active hours before noon. The Indonesian man was wrapped with a red silk robe that came down to his wrists and knees, a golden dragon embroidered elegantly around the sleeves and very likely nothing underneath. His face was bare of make-up and his hair free of product, something Raphael did not think he’d ever seen before.

The bedroom itself was in a state of mass disarray. Clothes from the wardrobe positioned on the overhanging balcony inside the room (and really, who needed a top and bottom floor in their bedroom) were scattered carelessly along the floor, as if Magnus had simply tossed them down in a flurry of movement, one following after the other.

The drinks cart was out in the middle of the floor with more than one glass suspiciously missing from its stand and Raphael could see different coffin varnishes placed on various different surfaces, each having been drunk to a different stage. It made the place look like a barrel house and made Raphael scrunch his nose up in displeasure.

The bed, a low to the floor, king-sized, centrally positioned thing, looked as if a hurricane had swept through it, with the duvet and multiple blankets being piled high onto the left side and wrinkled to all oblivion.

The bedroom – usually a place kept so meticulously tidy by Magnus himself and only requiring a small amount of cleaning from Raphael – was the worse in the house at the moment and Raphael felt him mouth open in surprise at its state. Never, in all the years of his employment, had the Latino seen anything quite like it.

He turned back to the window at the sound of titling coming from Magnus, whose scrunched up face and frowning lips told him the man was confused at his silence. “Raphael, is everything alright?” He questioned, voice remaining at a small, suppressed volume which, like the very room they stood in, was disconcerting.

Magnus was never one for being quiet, his fashion sense alone calling for people’s attention.

Raphael opened his mouth to answer, to question what exactly was happening because surely he must have hit his head to be seeing Magnus up and coherent and seven in the morning, when he caught sight of something even more peculiar.

Magnus was holding in his hand a cup of coffee, warm and recently made if the steam rising from it was any indication, but on the table beside him, lit up like a picture by the delicate strands of early morning daylight, was a second cup of warm, recently made coffee.

The porcelain cup was delicate in appearance and was of a set one handed out only to the most treasured and worthy of guests. Ragnor and Catarina, for example, were the only two Raphael had ever seen drink from similar cups and Magnus himself refused these cups when alone or in company.

Raphael continued looking at the second cup for a couple of minutes uncomprehendingly, ignoring Magnus attempts to engage him in a conversation, before a small – and frankly adorable – sounding noise arose from the mess of blankets on the bed.

Raphael swung his head round immediately and gave a closer inspection to the moving mound on Magnus’ bed, stormy eyes focusing on the pile rather than the brief glance he’d given only moments before. His eyes swivelled from the bottom of the bed to the head, and finally, to a dark spot atop of Magnus’ immaculate white pillows.

It took a moment to for Raphael to realize that the dark spot was actually a head of messy and dark ebony hair. He noticed that underneath the set of ebony waves were startling cerulean blue eyes locked on his own stormy greys, peering curiously and blurrily, the grasp of sleeping not fully leaving just yet.

“Oh.” Raphael murmured softly, handing off the candle stick in his hands to an amused and smug looking Magnus. “Good morning.” He continued as the boy in Magnus’ bed – the infamous Alexander Lightwood – began to rise from his resting position into something seated.

His hair was a tangled mess, his smile wide and pleased, like a cat who got the cream, and Raphael noticed his eyes were watching Magnus softly, something undeniably warm and comforting in his gaze. Only when he emerged from underneath the mound to sit did Raphael see Alexander’s porcelain coloured, bare chest, with his shirt probably mixed in with the large gathering scattered around the floor.

Raphael believed it was time he should look away from the bed in order to give the boy some decency and common courtesy, seeing as he was most likely in his friends bed naked. Although, having never been in this situation before, Raphael didn’t quite know what was deemed common courtesy.

“Good morning.” His soft voice replied belatedly, low and quiet with the last visages of sleep. “You must be Raphael.” It was less of a question and more of a statement; the boy knew who he was, he simply was phrasing like hesitancy to be polite. Alexander began stuffing pillows to better support his body and the elder male saw the lines of muscle that defined his chest and arms, Magnus’ golden green eyes stared at them almost in worship.

Right, looking away.

“You don’t have to look away Raphael, I’m sure it’s nothing you haven’t seen before.” His voice remains soft and low, and besides him Magnus almost purrs in delight at its presence. It makes Raphael uncomfortable, not because of the nature of the two people, but because he’s never witnessed an interaction so genuine and domestic with Magnus; he feels like an intruder.

He looks back up as Alexander makes a small, almost whine of a noise, and Magnus responds by calmly walking over to the boy’s position on the bed with the second coffee in his hand to pass over. Raphael watches intrigued as Magnus carefully hands over the coffee and places a loving kiss upon the birds nest that constitutes the boy’s hair; the love between them has clearly not kindled in their years of separation.

It seems now though, that they’ve finally done something about it.

“I apologise, sirs, if I had known you were up here I never would have disturbed you.” His dark eyes watch the interactions between the two men, observing how close they sat besides each other and the gentle caressing hand of Magnus on the boys shoulder. Alexander presses a sweet kiss upon Magnus’ cheek (and who knew Magnus could turn such a soft pink colour) and turns to smile at him.

The smile he receives in response is immediately disarming and welcoming. “It’s completely fine, I have to get going in a moment soon anyway.” The boy hums softly as he sips the coffee, blue eyes closed in simple pleasure, and Raphael notices Magnus hand has risen to gently stroke at the mess of the boys hair, as if attempting to smooth down the wayward strands and create a semblance of order.

But the utterly smitten look adorning his face discards this idea slightly and Raphael is sure Magnus is just finding innocent ways of touching the boy in company. “Oh no, Alexander my darling, can’t you stay for longer?” Magnus’ voice is filled with warmth and a calm Raphael hadn’t heard for some weeks, but his eyes betray the strength of his feelings regarding Alexander leaving.

“Oh I must Mags, I’ve gotta be at rehearsal in an hour, but I promise I’ll come back after the show tonight.” Alexander stands suddenly from the bed and Raphael immediately diverts his attention away from the completely naked boy running around for his clothes.

He also ignores the pleased sounding hum that emerges from Magnus during this time.

A few minutes later, when Raphael has deemed his eyes safe, the Latino glances up to witness Alexander sat down on the bed, clearly in the process of putting his shoes on, with Magnus looming above him, tawny hands cradling his pale face and lips lazily joining together chastely, smiles wide on their face the entire time.

“Goodbye sayang.” He hears Magnus whisper to the boy and Alexander stands up swiftly, presses a gentle kiss to Magnus’ lips once more and leaves the room with a quick goodbye in his direction.

Behind him, Raphael hears the dreamlike sigh of his friend and turns around with a pointed eyebrow raised in disbelief.

“Wasn’t like that, you said.”

“Don’t tell Ragnor.”

“I’ve already crafted the message in my head.” A pillow comes flying at his head followed by a loud, drawn out groan and Raphael dodges the blow by running out of the room, a smile wide and open on his face.

He had considered telling Ragnor what he’d seen, only briefly, but the love struck expression on both men’s face made his heart skip a beat and Raphael found himself wanting to give the two of them privacy.

Perhaps Magnus had finally found his happiness in Alexander Lightwood.

Chapter Text

Isabelle stood, shoulders hunched, frown prominent, as her dress blew harshly in the rapid wind surrounding her. She’d worn her lovely, new, sacramento green dress with a low back and above knee height for this performance of Alec’s and now the fabric would be ruined forever.

Not to mention her hair, which had taken the better part of two hours to perfect into a stylish updo with glittering jewels embedded into it, was now messed up and looked like a birds nest; her brother would be more suited to this style she believed.

A few hours ago she’d been happy with the way she looked and the situation she was in.

Alec’s ballet company were showcasing their new bill that evening and without even needing to ask, her big brother had gifted her with a ticket to go and watch him preform the lead role. The performance and the company were the bee’s knees of society at the moment and tickets were a hot commodity; Alec’s gift had been more than Isabelle could have ever hoped for.

Not to mention Alec, her own brother, was the big shot of the night.

Everyone sat in that theatre tonight, Isabelle was certain, had come to watch Alec dance and dazzle them with his perfection. His name had been plastered on every poster in the city, his picture published in every newspaper.

There was not a person in the whole of New York who was unaware of Alexander Lightwood ‘Boy wonder of Ballet.’

Isabelle and Jace had nearly broke a rib laughing about the name before Alec got sore with them and threw them out of his small cottage in West Egg.

Personally, Isabelle had never seen her brother dance ballet. In their youth, when Alec had first started his studying, she had been so hell-bent on being independent, a sheba, a bearcat,  that not once did she turn up to a recital or practice of his.

Then, once he’d become more certain and determined about becoming a professional danseur, she’d dismissed him as goofy and a sap. Ballet wasn’t a thing then; at least not in America and Alec was doomed to fail.

At least in her eyes.

She spent so long trying to convince him to do something else, something worthwhile that she’d caused a near fatal fracture in their relationship. Without realising, Isabelle had begun turning into her parents, demanding and demeaning, challenging her brother at every moment and doubting his skills.

It was only once he declared that he was going to Paris of all places to study, that Isabelle began to realise how much Ballet meant to her brother and she’d begun the slow process of rebuilding their friendship. It wasn’t easy, but they’d done it and Alexander was now getting the recognition he deserved.

Isabelle had been breathless the entire performance, could hardly believe the guy on stage was her brother. Her fire extinguisher, bluenosed, brother, who tripped over air, had glided and flew around a stage in perfect form and grace.

She longed to see him perform again.

Or, at least, that was the feeling she had thirty minutes ago, when she’d first gone to the stage door to wait for his exit. Alec had told her that he would be right out, he never liked waiting behind and would be out of the door within five minutes flat.

In fact, he’d swore that he would.

But Isabelle had been stood out in the cold for far too long, and the warming effects of moonshine only lasted so much. She had no shawl with her and Simon was out with friends so she had been unable to plunder his jacket for warmth.

The crowd that had once surrounded her, all eager and chomping at the bit to receive an autograph, had slowly dwindled as time went on until she was the last woman standing.

Hence, her current situation.

Isabelle had promised to drive her brother home, back to his fairy tale cottage, but if he made her wait one more minute, she was leaving without him.

A sudden but quietly muffled noise caught her attention. It came from around the corner, an area darkened by an absent street lamp and crowded buildings. She listened closer, trying to gauge if it was a threat or no, when the sound developed further, into something like laughter.

Laughter, or as Isabelle realised, quiet and stifled giggling. Whoever was around the corner was desperately trying to silence the noise, possibly with a hand or biting their lip but failing miserably.

The flapper wanted to know what was going on; was somebody laughing at her? She crept silently towards the wall, slightly beyond the stage door her brother would soon (hopefully) emerge from and pressed her back tightly against it, praying that she was a perfect sleuth and made no noise.

Isabelle cursed her need for beauty when her heels, a beautiful pair of black Mary Janes she’d been given as a gift from Simon, made a loud clattering noise on the concrete below and the giggling stopped abruptly. She didn’t move, fearful of being caught out, fearful of what could happen if she was found.

No one moved and no sound occurred.

For a moment Isabelle believed she’d been caught out and the person beyond the corner had done a stealthy runner, hitching a ride further down the road and leaving her in the dust. But then, a light, almost imperceptible giggle arose again and Isabelle felt herself slump against the wall in relief.

She still had chance to show off her skill as a bull.

Reaching the edge, Isabelle carefully tilted her head and peered, almost innocently, around the corner. The sight she met with made her heart skip a beat and fill with an unconditional warmth that had long since been absent.

Alec was there, ignorant bastard he was for leaving her standing in the cold all this time, leaning with his back against the wall, hands cupped around his face as he tried to stop the – frankly- adorable giggle exploding from his mouth.

He was dressed in street clothes from what she could see, a pinstripe pair of trousers, tight to his body and defining his leg muscles, with a partially untucked white shirt, lowered suspenders and matching jacket hanging haphazardly from his shoulders.

She couldn’t see his face, not at the angle she was and with the absence of clear lighting, but from his stifled giggles she could only presume he was smiling her favourite, child-like grin that only came out when Alec was either extremely drunk or deliriously happy.

An arm, muscular and covered with a glittering dark shirt, was held against the side of his head, a body leaning its weight onto it and angling towards her brothers own. She realised, with a startled gasp, that Alec wasn’t stifling his giggles with his hands, but by the lips of this unknown man, who pressed them chastely against his.

“What are you doing here?” She heard him ask, voice low and shy. But the smile he wore beguiled his happiness  and the mysterious man, who was shrouded in darkness, pressed himself against Alec’s chest and lowered his head to press a gentle kiss against his waiting lips.

“I was going to meet you later, we agreed remember.” Alec giggled again when the man snuggled his nose into the messy black locks of his hair and Isabelle smiled privately at the open display of love and happiness.

For so long had Alec hid behind a mask of solemnity and disparity, never trying to connect or reveal what he was truly feeling. To see him now, relishing and allowing the love of another man, was unbelievably rewarding.

“I know darling, but” Isabelle gasped sharply. She knew that voice.

Magnus Bane, party extraordinaire and mysterious invitation giver of the roaring party she’d attended last night was standing over her brother, caging him against the wall and languorously giving him explorative yet innocent kisses.

“I couldn’t wait to see you after this morning,” his hand gently brushed stray hairs away from her brothers face, revealing to her eyes the flushed complexion adorning his face.

Her brother, the unflappable Alexander Lightwood, was blushing!

“And how could I possibly miss that hotsy-totsy performance of yours Alexander. It was brilliant!” Magnus pressed Alec more securely against the wall, aligning their bodies perfectly and dipped his head, dominating Alec’s lips with his own.

Isabelle watched in astonishment as Alec put up no resistance, allowing the older male to dominate his mouth and push him tightly against the wall behind him. Her brother let out a short, but powerful, moan and hitched his leg around Magnus’ waist, the tanned hand of his companion coming to rest on his thigh.

Isabelle let out a choked scoff and swiftly turned back round the corner, unwilling to see further into her brother’s private life. She loved him and was eager to be involved in his love life but that didn’t mean she needed to see every element that went on.

She stifled her own laugh as she assessed the situation, the absurdity of it all. Here she was, disgruntled and annoyed at her brothers delayed exit from the theatre, flapper dress irreparable by the wind and hair in complete disarray and he was around the corner having a whoopee.

She was sure that the opposite was what normally happened.

After a further five minutes of standing in the cold her brother finally came towards her, hair looking significantly worse than before and clothes buttoned suspiciously. “Hey” he smirked, arm coming to scratch at the back of his neck; his nervous tell.

Isabelle simply smirked back and began moving towards the direction of her car, hearing the stumbling sound of her brother running after her whilst struggling with his bag. “Wait, Isabelle…”

She continued her journey, smirk changing quickly into a full-blown smile at her brothers desperation to apologise for his lateness.

She said nothing, simply opened the car door and settled herself behind the wheel. Alec cautiously sat down beside her, turning his head almost imperceptibly to look into the alleyway behind, before settling down and facing forward, hands scrunched up tightly in his lap.

“So,” Isabelle began, voice low and threatening, “wanna tell me about what happened this morning with a certain Magnus Bane?”

Her brothers answering groan was her only response.

 


 

 

Catarina goes by Magnus’ house early in the morning. She’s not there for any particular thing really, only some odd bits of paperwork that really shouldn’t be left out should the fuzz ever find cause to raid his house.

With the day so lovely, bright sky and scorching heat galore, she’d chosen to walk to Magnus’, rather than drive, in a light blouse and trousers that were loose against her legs. Not even the inner-city boys with slurs and jeers against her skin could detract from the happiness she felt in the day.

The gravel of his driveway crunched underneath her feet, the song of the birds nearby the only other sound, and as she reached Magnus’ vast array of cars she was startled to see one of his grand (far too grand for one man) rococo doors slip open and the wiry frame of a dark haired youth glided discreetly out.

Her didn’t see her standing there, he didn’t even look in her direction at all. The figure simply took one look upwards towards the third storey window above him, blew a gentle kiss in its direction and daintily took off, long legs seemingly floating along the floor to the woodland covering the house’s border.

Catarina presumed this was Alexander Lightwood.

One glance to Magnus’ bedroom window where he was stood with an adoring and lustful gaze confirmed this.

Their reunion had been over a week ago now and, as far as Catarina was aware, neither male went without seeing the other at least once per day. It was almost sickening to watch, this puppy dog love between a nineteen and twenty three year old, but the dark-skinned woman believed Magnus had been through enough heartbreak in his life to deserve this.

That didn’t mean her and Ragnor hadn’t teased him about it every chance they got.

Without even realising it, Catarina had entered the house – mansion if she was being a pedant – and ascended up the stairs to Magnus’ room.

It was almost strange to thing there would be no more parties, at least not like the ones Magnus was infamous for, in the halls she had known for so long. The only reason the parties had existed, the only reason Magnus had designed them as dramatic and as far reaching as they were, was to firstly fill the hole of absent love in his heart – a feat now finished – and to attract the attention of his first real paramour.

Alexander slipping out into the early morning rays was more than enough proof of completing the second reason.

She knocked, but awaited no answer, having seen more of Magnus than any living person who wasn’t his lover should. He was sat at his window, silk dressing gown tied haphazardly around his waist and slipping slightly off his shoulder, tawny fingers curled leisurely around a steaming cup of joe.

His smile was more relaxed than ever before, eyes twinkling with a light long since lost and Catarina found no hesitation in smiling serenely back at him, welcoming the calmer, more open Magnus Bane sat before her.

“Catarina,” he called out softly, voice warm with the morning rays, “come sit and see what I have here.”

Now that he had spoken, Catarina could see a small mound of photographs resting in a pile on the table nearby. They were carefully collected and dust free, a clear sign that Magnus treasured them dearly. If the camera stand hiding in the corner was any indication, it would appear that Magnus himself was the creator of the pile.

She walked towards him gayly, swinging her hips and eager to see his showing. The younger woman didn’t have a camera herself – Ragnor was a little too old fashioned to want a camera in their house yet – but she did so love playing around with Magnus’.

The chair she sat in was comfortable and warm, as if only recently vacated, and Catarina hunched over slightly in readiness to see the photos. Her friend wore a shy smile, almost juvenile, and carefully pushed the pile towards her, eager to see what she thought.

Catarina looked down for only a second, but found her breath caught in her throat at the intimate and awe-inspiring photos laid before her.

Every photo was of Alexander Lightwood. His pale complexion and shockingly dark hair a mesmerising picture against the backdrop of Magnus bedroom.

He wore very little clothing in each, dark underwear only in some to offset his ivory skin tone, a bed cloth around his waist in others, hair ruffled and eyes bleary as if only just awoken from sleep. In a few her eyes caught sight of a familiar silk robe tied around him and in one only, he wore a shirt sizes too big that pooled around his things and fell around his collar bones, leaving very little to the imagination as he stood in the centre of the bed.

They were artistic in their simplicity. Alec had kiss bitten lips and mused up hair, a shy grin and bright blush adorning his face in each one. Dark eyes that black and white could do no justice for, held warmth and love as they stared beyond the camera and to the man holding them.

In some Alec had his legs tucked under him, showing off the muscular thighs that hid away during the day, in others he was stretched out, his torso expanded to demonstrate the depth and sharpness  of his wiry frame. His feet were perfectly arched and pointed, his neck elongated and straight.

In each one Catarina could see small, mouth size bruises dotted along the lines of his body, perfectly painting Magnus love and devotion to him; it was a sign of his worship towards the boy. Finger shapes and teeth marks revealed the depth of their passion for one another (especially a particularly deep looking mark in the crease of his thigh in one more, closely intimate, than the others).

Catarina wondered how Alec was supposed to hide these marks from his fellow ballet dancers.

But, she could not deny they were tasteful and full of an intimate elegance that could not be replicated or replaced by another. She wished they could be hung up for all to see, a display of love so strong that it transcended both time and the perception of society.

A teardrop falling just shy of one of the photographs made her realise she was releasing a slow yet steady stream of overwhelmed tears. “Cat?” She heard him ask as a cautious thumb stroked the skin of her arm in comfort.

She looked over to him, her brother beyond the blood, and smiled through her tears, showing him how proud she was that he’d found his love. “Magnus these are brilliant!”

She gushed to him for a little longer, complementing his use of shadow and light, his positioning of Alec. She spoke great lengths about the different looks the younger boy sent the camera, each shy look, each coy glance, every lustful glare and biting of the lip.

Opposite her Magnus smiled at her enthusiasm, grateful to have someone with whom he could talk at great length to about his Alexander.

“Catarina?” He questioned once more, smile turning a little less innocent and a little more sinister as she glanced away from the photos and into his gleaming golden eyes.

“Yes” She responded instantly, noting the look and smirking right back. She didn’t know exactly what Magnus was going to say next, but she knew it would be entertaining at the least.

“I have more photos if you wish to see them.” She nodded eagerly, wanting to see more of this artistic, yet authentic photo set he had of his young, nubile lover. With an evil grin Magnus handed over another stack of photos.

These were less artistic and more extemporaneous in nature, taken after long periods of begging, pleading and artful negotiation. The showed more skin and no clothes, moments take in the heat of passion and movement sudden and unknown.

They were incredibly risqué and a sure fire way to imprisonment upon discovery, but they made his blood boil and his eyes darken with desire. A young nubile body position less with precision but desperation and ecstasy.

They were his masterpieces.

“Magnus!” Came Catarina’s exasperated cry and Magnus howled with laughter at the scandalised look on her face.

Perhaps some things would be better kept to himself.